- Generally, shallots aren't used in large enough quantities to contribute a significant amount of vitamins or minerals to a meal.
The history of the shallot is rife with confusion. This slim bulb is related to both garlic and onions, which is why it looks and tastes a bit like each. Things get more mixed up when you learn that, because shallots were once widely used in place of scallions, both names come from one word: eschaloigne, Old French for "scallion." Furthering the confusion is the fact that, today, Americans and Australians use the word "shallot" differently. In the U.S., "shallot" means the brownish bulb, while Australians use the word to indicate a green onion (which Americans call a "scallion"). Whew!
Shallots come in a number of different types. The brown shallot (also called the English or Dutch) is the most common variety found in U.S. supermarkets. It is small with thin, brown, papery skin. Pink shallots are crunchier but still mild. Other types include the Gray (which is popular in France), the Dutch Yellow (which is strongly flavored and stores well) and the French Red (which tastes a bit spicier). The largest shallot variety is the Banana, which is quite mild.
When are Shallots in Season?
As a cool-season bulb, shallots grow all year round, though they're most plentiful in the summer.
How to Choose Shallots
Shallots are shaped much like garlic cloves. They even come covered with papery skin like a garlic bulb (though it's browner). A good shallot is firm and unscarred, with no bruising, mold or soft spots.
How to Store Shallots
Like fresh garlic, shallots can be stored at room temperature in a dark, dry place, like a drawer, cupboard or pantry.
How to Prepare Shallots
Prepping shallots is a lot like getting garlic ready for a recipe. Simply trim each end, peel away the skin and slice thinly. For larger varieties, like the Banana shallot, you may want to dice it this way: Begin by using a paring knife to cut the shallot in half lengthwise. Then, setting each half on its flat side, make a series of close parallel cuts in one direction, being careful to not quite reach the bottom. Then, turn your knife 90 degrees and do the same thing again. Now, turn the shallot on its side, cut away the many small diced pieces and discard the thin, uncut base.
Shallots are usually added to recipes in either teaspoons or tablespoons.
Though they are not as mild, red onions, white onions or the bulbs of green onions can be used in place of shallots, as can plain old garlic. You might even try mixing together a bit of onion and garlic to get a shallot-like hybrid flavor, though it will not be as mild. Note: One small onion yields the same amount of edible flesh as about three whole shallots.
Shallots in Recipes
You can make a meal that features shallots in three straight courses. Start by serving these citrusy Green Beans with Glazed Shallots in Lemon-Dill Butter.
Next, use shallots to add Italian flair to a creamy Healthified Chicken Linguine Alfredo.
Finally, mix together some Tangy Carrots with Grapes for a delicious side. The secret ingredients are shallots, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar.